Vancouver celebrated twins, longtime forwards before game vs. Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks honored Daniel and Henrik Sedin by retiring their Nos. 22 and 33 in a star-studded ceremony at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.
Daniel, selected No. 2 by the Canucks in the 1999 NHL Draft, and Henrik, who was taken with the next pick, each spent his entire 17-season career in Vancouver.
“Being part of the Canucks family has been the best part of our lives,” Henrik said. “… Everything started on an outdoor rink watching our two older brothers play hockey. Me and Daniel would play street hockey all night, and once in while we would get a glimpse of a player who was seven years older than us: Markus Naslund. It’s pretty amazing three players from the same little small community in our hometown of Ornskoldsvik now have their jerseys retired in Vancouver.
“… To the people of Vancouver and British Columbia, we came here in 1999 and it felt like home from Day One. We want to thank you for how you treated us and our families. To play in front of you has been an honor, and nothing we ever took for granted. To the best fans in the League, we now join you in cheering for this team when they go for the Stanley Cup.”
In addition to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, many of the Sedins’ former teammates were on hand, including Roberto Luongo, Kevin Bieksa, Alexandre Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Trevor Linden and Naslund.
Canucks players sported the Sedins’ jerseys during warmups, and the team gifted them a VIP experience at the Kentucky Derby. Canucks captain Bo Horvat and defenseman Alexander Edler presented them with a trip to a destination of their choice. Bieksa also addressed the crowd before the Sedins gave their speeches.
“There’s a Sedin culture to this organization, and it’s been absorbed by the next generation of core players,” Bieksa said. “You’re the two best players and people to wear the Canucks jersey … and there’s no one more deserving of this honor.”
The Sedins thanked their former Canucks coaches, John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault, Willie Desjardins, Marc Crawford and Travis Green, and general managers, Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Mike Gillis and Jim Benning.
The Sedins’ retired numbers now hang next to Naslund’s No. 19, Linden’s No. 16, Pavel Bure’s No. 10 and Stan Smyl’s No. 12.
(NHL independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report)